A 74-year-old Red Deer man is one of more than a dozen people who have been arrested on child exploitation charges.
Hans-Ulrich Gerber has been charged with accessing, possessing and distributing child pornography, as well as possession of a prohibited firearm and ammunition.
Between May 20 and June 23, the Alberta Law Enforcement Teams’ child exploitation unit charged 18 suspects with 65 offences.
Most of the charges came as the result of an investigation by the RCMP’s National Child Exploitation Centre.
“Online child exploitation victimizes our most vulnerable and is a crime against an entire society that’s built around nurturing our children and keeping them safe,” said Solicitor General Doug Schweitzer in a statement.
“Identifying and arresting the perpetrators who prey on children is complex and challenging work, and I commend the investigators … for their tireless dedication to this grim, but absolutely necessary, duty.”
According to the release, there is no link between any of the suspects. Six of the suspects are from the Edmonton area, four from the Calgary area, three from Lethbridge and two from Grande Prairie.
A sharp increase in child exploitation in Alberta was reported earlier this year. The record number of instances, 243 in March alone, far exceeded the two-year monthly average of 110.